When we describe CCSC as a “college preparatory” school, we are not only referring to the rigorous instruction students receive in the classroom, but to the school’s overarching expectation that every student will go on to earn a post-secondary degree. We begin talking about college – what it takes to get in and what it takes to graduate – from the moment students enroll – whether in 7th, 8th or 9th grade (and in 6th grade next year) – through senior year. Reinforcing the message they hear over and over from teachers and advisors, students also get tips from recent CCSC graduates at our annual Alumni Panel, held this year on January 10rd in the Volpe Center auditorium. All students in grades 9 through 12 attended.
Alumni Coordinator and math teacher Tabitha Schober kicked off the morning event with a short recap of CCSC’s college placement success since our first class graduated in 2009: 100% of graduates over all four years were accepted to a college and 90% are matriculating at a four-year college. Of those 116 graduates to date, about 80% have earned a degree or are still enrolled, which is a higher rate of persistence than the national average. Scholarship awards and grants for the Class of 2013 totaled $959,218. Since 2009, five CCSC seniors have been named Posse Scholars, earning 4-year full scholarships to highly selective private colleges including Tahawney Terrell ’14 who will attend Bryn Mawr College next year. Ms. Schober also shared updates on several alumni currently in college and a few who recently graduated.
A highlight of this year’s event was guest speaker Nakia Letang, associate director of undergraduate admissions at Fairfield University, who was accompanied by CCSC alumna Sarah Joseph (Fairfield, Class of 2013). Ms. Letang advised students to be flexible in choosing their majors and career paths, sharing that she herself had begun her studies planning a career in early elementary education and changing course after working in her college’s admission office and realizing she enjoyed interacting with high school students far more than 1st graders. She also told students to think carefully about how to set themselves apart in the application process by “putting themselves in the right competition” by selecting schools that will be the best match for them as individuals, and perhaps considering colleges where they will stand out geographically. She urged the freshmen and sophomores in the audience to start immediately becoming “the person you want colleges to see.”
With Director of Guidance and Counseling Vanessa Barrios facilitating, six recent CCSC graduates fielded students’ questions on college, from finding the right fit and navigating the financial aid process, to deciding on a major and choosing courses, seeking out support and mentoring from professors, and balancing academics and other activities. All the alumni panelists stressed the importance of taking ownership of your education by keeping your grades up, meeting with professors during office hours, and making full use of all available campus resources to help students manage academic and social stress and the myriad other challenges that college life presents.
Shout-outs and thank you to the following alumni for attending and sharing their perspectives: Janika Beatty ’13 (Hamilton College), Darryl Brown ’10 (Dean College ’12, currently at UMass Boston), Sarah Joseph ’09 (Fairfield University ’13), Hugh Merisier ’13 (Bentley College), Paige Mochi ’10 (Wentworth Institute of Technology), Andrea Morgan ’10 (Providence College), and Khorally Pierre ’13 (College of the Holy Cross).